Nathaniel Cunningham

Faculty/Staff profile

Contact information

Nathaniel Cunningham

Associate Professor of Physics
ncunning [at]

104 Olin Hall of Science

Fall 2016:
Monday, noon-1pm
Tuesday, 4-5pm
Thursday, 1-2pm

(402) 465-2494

I fell in love with Physics in high school, and pursued it in college, where I also discovered philosophy. After agonizing about whether to continue my studies in physics or philosophy after graduation, physics won out, and I chose to specialize in astrophysics.

In my graduate work, I developed astronomical instruments, and used them to study the births and deaths of stars. I have since worked on detector systems for the high-power Diocles laser system the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and I currently study the surfaces and atmospheres of small bodies in the Solar System using ultraviolet light observed by the Hubble Space Telescope. Since 2007, I have contributed to NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto and European Space Agency's Rosetta mission currently orbiting a comet.

I joined the Physics faculty at Nebraska Wesleyan University in 2010.

Ph.D., Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder

M.S., Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder

B.S., Physics, University of Notre Dame, summa cum laude
Minor: philosophy

Courses I'm currently teaching (Fall 2016):
PHYS-1600: Principles of Physics I / PHYS 2000: General Physics I
PHYS-3100: Electromagnetism & Optics